Ţara Chioarului

The Ţara Chioarului region in the southwestern part of Maramureş takes in the area immediately south of Baia Mare. The numerous villages, most of which contain traditional wooden churches, form a convenient loop that is ideal for a two-hour drive, though hard to do by public transport.

From Baia Mare follow the main road (Hwy 1C) south towards Cluj-Napoca for 17km to Satulung. Three kilometres south of Satulung, take the unmarked turn-off on the left (east) to Finteuşu Mare and continue for 5km until you reach the village of Posta. A small wooden church (1675) opposite a more modern one sits at the top of the hill.

Nine kilometres south of Şomcuţa Mare lies Valea Chioarului, the southernmost village in Ţara Chioarului. Its delightful tall church, with decent interior wall paintings, stands next to the bus stop in the centre of the village. Outside, next to a bust of Hungarian hero Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), is a wooden scale model of the church. Seek the key in the shop opposite.

From Şomcuţa Mare, 5km south of the Posta turnoff, a largely unmade road wends its way to Remetea Chioarului, 8km to the northeast. Its tiny church, dating from 1800, is the highlight of Ţara Chioarului, with its interior paintings and vaulted ceiling. It stands majestically beside the village's unattractive, seven-spired modern church (1996).

Săcălăşeni, 7km further north, has a small church, built in 1442, making it the oldest wooden church in Maramureş. To reach it, turn east at the modern church dominating the village.